Early life and education
Grace Nono was born on May 6, 1965 in Butuan, Agusan del Norte, CARAGA region, Mindanao, southern Philippines, and was raised in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Her mother, Ramona R. Sacote, was an English and mathematics teacher, writer, and school administrator originally from Camiguin island. Her father, Igmedio A. Nono, originally from Nueva Ecija, was a farmer leader who promoted land reform, established cooperatives, and advocated organic farming long before it was fashionable.
Grace attended at East Bunawan Central School where she graduated at the top of her class in 1976. After a year in Agusan National High School, she moved to the Philippine High School for the Arts where she majored in Theatre Arts, finishing in 1981. Grace went on to complete a bachelor's degree in Humanities in 1986 and a master's degree in Area Studies focus on the Philippines in 2004 from the University of the Philippines. In 2009, she began her doctoral studies in Ethnomusicology at New York University and graduated in 2014. Grace received further training through the Asian Cultural Council in New York in 2008, the UCLA Asia Pacific Performance Exchange in Los Angeles in 2006, the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO in Kyoto in 2009, the Asian Institute of Management's Managing the Arts Program in Makati in 2003, the Global Research Initiative in Florence in 2013, and the Harvard Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program and Center for the Study of World Religions in Cambridge in 2015-16.